Thursday, July 31, 2008

Where Have All The Cowboys Gone?

Crumbs; it's July 31st and I'm in danger of only making one blog post this month - I'll try to get this one under the wire.

So, where have we been and what have we been up to? Well, as you can see from the picture we take life here on the Ranch very seriously, always ready to marshall the herd or defend ourselves from a marauding attack of Navajo braves - although they are quite a rare sight in north Tonbridge these days. OK, actually this was us before going to our friend Lee's 40th birthday Cowboy and Indian themed barn dance. The last time I went to a barn dance was in the lower refectory at QMC in 1985, but I'm pleased to report that my snake hips are still moving well. On a more cautionary note, somebody nicked one of my water pistols while we were there; another sad statistic in this country's growing gun crime problem.

Talking of birthdays, Mum was 137 earlier this month. She doesn't look it of course. I thought it was about time I retired her old Windows ME PC that has served her well for so long, but without an obvious hand-me-down from my collection to give her I went with a brand new cheap and cheerful box from ebuyer. I can't work out how they can make any profit when they sell an Acer Vista based PC for £135 (+ another £15 for extra memory) yet it's a perfectly suitable machine for internet, word processing and photo storage. Whether it survives as long as the last one is another matter.

A couple of Sundays ago we took Lin's parents to Hastings - the first time I'd been there in twenty-odd years I would think. I did sail past it during our dayskipper practical a few years back and it looked quite nice from a couple of miles out, but then after three days at sea sharing a 37ft yacht with four other people even Dungeness B Power Station looked welcoming. Actually, we parked up at the fishy end of Hastings, and I'd have to say it had a certain charm about it, but I don't think I'd like to go there when it gets really busy.

Well, I have eight minutes to make my deadline, so I have no time to report on my latest box of tricks; a High-Def media server. Until next time.....

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Communication Breakdown

Like thousands of others I received a text message from O2 yesterday morning to let me know that the online upgrade shop was now open for those of us eager to upgrade to the Apple iPhone 3G. Since my Sony Ericsson K750i was starting to show its age, and I'd never got around to getting an iPod, I thought this was an ideal opportunity to kill two birds with one stone.

Needless to say the O2 website was a little slugish as I navigated through the screens; typing in my current mobile number, waiting for an upgrade code to arrive via text (which for some reason I didn't have to enter onto the web page), and finally providing my credit card details before pressing the "Send" button. Well at least I think I pressed it, as there was no immediate feedback, just the same screen staring back at me. After a couple of minutes it jumped into life with the message "There has been a problem, blah, blah, blah, please try again". So I did; several times.

After a few similar outcomes I decided to do something useful with my life for an hour or so, before returning to find a page saying the upgrade shop was currently unavailable. Mmmm, surely O2 knew there was going to be a huge demand for this launch and could have taken steps to prevent the meltdown.

I checked back a few times during the day to find the same message, before finally being presented with a page saying that the entire stock of iPhones had sold out. Well, obviously I was unlucky; I'm sure that we all had an even chance. At least that's what I thought until I asked around colleagues and friends this morning; I know it's not a major controlled survey, but of the five people I know who tried to order yesterday, two were successful and three were not. Those two are currently customers of other networks, while the three losers are already with O2.

Obviously a coincidence.